Planning a Michigan charity ride: How is it done?

Hi Everyone.

I’m thinking of organizing a group unicycle/person-powered vehicle ride for a charitable cause across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Any ideas how to set something like this up?

I have a strong social conscience and a unique skill (unicycling) so I thought it might be a good combination to help some folks out!

I was thinking something like a campaign to buy better wheelchairs and prosthetics for underpriveledged kids in that part of the country. A cause that isn’t so huge like hunger, housing or health care, but one where the proceeds might actually help some individuals.

Any ideas what it takes to get something going like this?

YOOPER: I PM’d you about this last week, so contact me if you like! You have contacts up there that might have some good ideas.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts!

i live in negaunee in the u.p., ill go riding with you!

Hey Musketman!
I was hoping this post would catch your eye, you posted that your were from the UP in another thread. I’d be glad for your riding and also any ideas and help you’re willing to put towards the effort!

when do you think it will be?

Next Summer sometime. It is just an idea at this point. If you want to be a part of making it happen, we can make certain to schedule it when you can be there!

The route isn’t even figured out yet. So there’s plenty of opportunity for you to contribute ideas!

yah i would like to be in that one too. Let me know when it is

This may not be 100% necessary, but I think you need a pre-existing charity. Something with a web site or otherwise a way for people to check them out and see that they’re legit. If you try to create your own charity you will have a problem with credibility. People will probably be less likely to donate when they don’t know where the money is going.

Plus if it’s a pre-existing charity, they can handle most of the details about the “charity part” and you can concentrate about the ride and fundraising part.

So I recommend you start by finding a charity you like, and that likes you.

The Shriners organization might be along the lines of what you want to do, so you might start there. If not with them, you can ask your local Shrine people if they have any suggestions.


Im up for it if anyone els is.

Thanks, John,
If we stick to the wheelchair idea, which I like a lot, the shriners would definitely be great folks to choose. Since its just a thought at this point, I want to get as much feedback from potential riders before making any decisions. The more it is a shared effort, the more it will be likely to succeed!!

I totally agree that the donations should be made to an establilshed charity.

Great uni-Steve! Glad you want to join in. The more folks the better. You’re in Negaunee, too right?

yup im a miner true n’ true

The charity bit is easy, just phone up the charity and tell them what you’re doing and they’ll sort you out with fundraising materials etc.

As for the ride, there’s a few variables,

How far do you want to ride?
How experienced are the riders?

If it’s a long day ride with experienced riders, organisation is minimal, you just need a route and to print out route maps. If you’re wanting to get inexperienced riders involved, you probably need to arrange some kind of support crew and a sag wagon (minibus that catches people who have run out of energy and takes them to the finish) - this is what family who don’t ride are useful for.

For multi-day rides, you need to figure out some kind of accommodation. Often churches or community centres are willing to let people doing charity rides sleep on their floors, assuming they like the charity you’re supporting. If you’re riding local to where a majority of the riders live, you might know enough people who’ll let you sleep at their houses. Or if you have car support with enough space for gear, there’s always camping. As a last resort you can pay for accommodation, but obviously that’s going to increase your overheads a lot.

The other big thing for multi day rides is spares, most people seem to use a car driving as a support crew to hold onto spares. It’s less wussy to carry spares on the uni, but hassle if you want to be really certain of having all possible spares (seats, posts, cranks, tyres etc.). Whatever happens you should try as hard as possible not to have anyone unable to finish due to a mechanical. Sam who just rode the UK End to End on a uni did it with bike riders carrying some of his spares and overnight gear.

Also for any organised ride, you need to have an idea of the range of skills, fitnesses and equipment of the people entering, so you can have some idea of how long and fast to make the ride. If you’re thinking of doing something insanely long, you might need to limit entry to 29er and coker riders for example.